Canon Reviews

Christopher Frost reviews Canon’s first autofocus lens

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Renowned lens reviewer Christopher Frost has posted a review of Canon’s first autofocus lens, the Canon FD 35-70mm f/4 AF.

About the Canon FD 35-70mm f/4 AF

This is the world’s first autofocus zoom lens with an autofocus function using Canon’s own SST (Solid State Triangulation) method. The incorporation of this function into the best-selling FD35-70mm f/4 (June 1979) interchangeable lens brought about automation of focusing for SLR cameras.

The SST method is a system in which information on the photographed object that enters the sensor through two fixed mirrors is converted into an electric signal and distance is measured by a microcomputer, with focusing performed by moving a distance ring with a motor. The latest fixed imaging device CCD (charge-coupled device) technology is adopted to provide high resolution and a broad dynamic range able to detect low to high luminance, making it less susceptible to the contrast and pattern size of the photographed object and enabling highly precise autofocusing. Also, as the SST method does not have a movable section in the distance measuring mechanism, no vibration or electric noise is caused, which provides high-reliability fitting of a high-end SLR camera.

Canon FD 35-70mm f/4 AF Specifications

  • Marketed: May 1981
  • Original Price: 89,500 yen (approx $789 USD)
  • Lens Construction (group): 8
  • Lens Construction (element): 8
  • No. of Diaphragm Blades: 6
  • Minimum Aperture: 22
  • Closest Focusing Distance (m): 0.5
  • Maximum Magnification (x): 0.15
  • Filter Diameter (mm): 52
  • Maximum Diameter x Length (mm): 85 x 99.5
  • Weight (g): 604
Oct 31, 2020
204
247
This review was/ is more like a history lesson. It really makes you appreciate all the tools we have nowadays and puts our "complaints" into perspective. I really like this video although I think it's a bit too negative because this lense was an awesome lense. Of course, it can't keep anymore. Therefore, I like the statement "it is a museum lense" and this should be the conclusion without riding around on every little flaw.
 
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Jasonmc89

EOS RP
Feb 7, 2019
319
357
UK
Love Chris’s reviews! My go to lunch break YouTube vids..

Cameras have always been a good indication of how quickly technology advances to me. Imagine what we’ll be using in 2050!
 

becceric

Making clumsy photographic mistakes since 1980
CR Pro
Oct 30, 2016
171
328
Does anyone remember a similar looking AF lens under the Vivitar name in that era?
I recall a similar zoom range version.
 

TAF

EOS RP
CR Pro
Feb 26, 2012
469
150
So, in 40 years Canon has improved their auto focus (yeah), but now has to rely on software to fix distortion that their older lenses were much better at controlling - compare this antique with an RF lens without the software correction. Can't use the modern stuff with film...

Excellent review.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
9,097
12,796
So, in 40 years Canon has improved their auto focus (yeah), but now has to rely on software to fix distortion that their older lenses were much better at controlling - compare this antique with an RF lens without the software correction. Can't use the modern stuff with film...

Excellent review.
Sad isn't it how Canon lenses have got worse over the years until they are now unusable with film. The rot started in the early 1990s when they introduced, following USM motors for AF, those new-fangled features like the first interchangeable superzoom, image stabilization, ultra low dispersion elements etc that have ruined modern lenses. And as for DO, what more can I say? Canon is now so ashamed of their latest monstrosities, that, as you say, they can't be used with film, so much so they have put on a new RF mount so you can't make the mistake of putting them on to a film camera.
 
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